The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised the Presidency for reinstating the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme ( NHIS ), Prof Usman Yusuf after he was suspended indefinitely by the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole in July 2017.
Yusuf was suspended for alleged financial misconduct bordering on the misuse of N919 million and insubordination towards constituted authority following a report of a ministerial panel of inquiry which indicted him of abuse of office.
In a dramatic twist however, the Presidency on Tuesday, overruled the minister by reinstating the indicted NHIS boss, even as he was still undergoing interrogation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The PDP, in a statement on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the Presidency’s action as shocking, scandalous and a mockery of justice.
The party also mocked the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled Federal Government for allegedly covering up a cabinet minister reported to have bought a property worth N280 million in Abuja from alleged corrupt enrichment.
“The Presidency stinks of corruption and has lost all claim of fighting graft, as long as it continues to protect indicted officials of the APC administration”, the statement added.
The PDP added that it was disgusting that the same Presidency that is brandishing a medal of African Union Anti-Corruption champion, would short-circuit the processes, arm-twist anti-graft agencies and pull out an indicted government official, while he was still a guest at the EFCC where he was being grilled for his alleged malfeasance.
The statement said, “This is a government official probed and thoroughly indicted for abuse of office and fraud to the tune of N919 million by a committee set up by the Minister of Health, comprising senior officials of the Health ministry, Department of State Services, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and which report was submitted to the President last September.
“The report detailed Yusuf as a public servant who portrayed a holier than thou attitude but at the background, milked the agency dry by ganging up with other fraudulent elements to fleece the NHIS to the tune of over N919 million through fraudulent procurements, while name-dropping on the President.
“Instead of allowing for the conclusion of investigation and eventual prosecution by EFCC, the Presidency halted the process and rewarded the indicted official with a recall from suspension, even without any recourse to the supervising minister, simply because Prof. Yusuf is not only of the APC but also known to be very close to the President.
“The only way the Presidency can redeem itself from this particular scandal is to immediately return Prof. Yusuf to the EFCC and allow the law to take it course if it is actually fighting corruption in Nigeria.
“In the same vein, we challenge the Presidency to immediately name the minister indicted for corrupt enrichment and bring him out for investigation and prosecution in line with the law”.
The opposition party called on Nigerians and the international community to continue to note what it called the insincerity and deception of the APC government, especially as the nation approaches the 2019 general elections.